Could this be a mistake? (Ammonia is apparently present) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Could this be a mistake? (Ammonia is apparently present)

I used two empty tylenol containers (thoroughly washed out) and took samples of two tanks. This was yesterday. I brought them in to a tropical fish store for routine testing while I was buying fish.

Sample 1: Community 25 gallon tank. Ammonia level of .5 - 1.

Sample 2: 3 gallon betta tank. Same ammonia level.

Now here's the odd part..

-None of my fish are stressed at all.
-None have ammonia burns.
-All are healthy. My swordtail fry have been active and living fine since they were born yesterday (this amount of ammonia leads me to believe they'd die)
-I sometimes overfeed by accident, but not often. What food is not used is usually eaten by bottom feeders (shrimp etc) or scavenged up by my betta and pleco.
-I do weekly 25 percent water changes.
-The tank is not overcrowded (to my knowledge)

Is there a chance that the ammonia readings may be wrong due to any tylenol residue in the bottle I used to transport the samples? If the ammonia levels are this high, I would think that there'd be at least ONE thing wrong in the tank. Everything is perfect.

I remember one time I took a sample in for testing and the person working at the store accidentally used an unclean vial to measure ammonia. The ammonia level was 4. He tested again and it turned out to be 0. This was months ago, but is it possible something like this happened again?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 02:50 PM
Twistersmom's Avatar
I don't think the pill bottles effected the results.
You may want to invest in the API freshwater liquid test kit for the convenience of testing at home.
I would have some tap water tested for ammonia. Its not uncommon for ammonia to be present in the tap water.
What water conditioner do you use? Prime helps detoxify ammonia, so you could get those readings and still have healthy fish.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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I actually do not use any water conditioner at all; I haven't used it since I set up the tank back in January. Even then, no ammonia was present. I use tap water and let it stand for 8-24 hours before using.

I am picking up some sort of conditioner tomorrow however. I was planning on doing that yesterday when I bought my fish, but I only had enough cash on me to buy two swords and a trap. :(

Aquaplus is what my girlfriend loves. Any feedback on that?
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 03:14 PM
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I would definitely go with the liquid test kit as most pet stores use the test strips and they can be inaccurate. The liquid test are more expensive but save you money in the long run. I used to let my water sit for 2 days but it can still have chloramines and other stuff in it, prime is the best conditioner because it neutralized ammonia and nitrites as well. Good Luck

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post #5 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds good! But the pet store I deal with is small and specializes in fish. They have great care and aquariums. They use liquid test kits.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 07:46 PM
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Redlessi is correct, if you water company uses chloramines, letting the water sit will not remove it. More water companies are switching to chloramines, they do not have to send any notice of the change, so to be on the safe side, best to use a water conditioner such as Prime.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 11:35 PM
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How long have the tanks been set up for? What were the readings for nitrite and nitrate? If you were doing water changes with straight tap water and not using a conditioner the chlorine in the water may have killed any beneficial bacteria colony. I suggest buying your own test kit (liquid, not the strips) and learning to test your own water. Test kits are a very important tool to have. Also, make sure you use a water conditioner at each water change to remove chlorine and chloramines.

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-04-2009, 11:38 PM
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well personally i like to keep my ammonia BELOW .50 since my tank is cycleing now, your fish are prob stressed it just might not be phisically noticeable. depending on your tank i would do a 15% - 25% water change every week untill your level drops off. if your tank has already cycled and you just now got this spiuke then its your bio balance of the tank that will eventually and natruaklly correct itself in a few days. check for a freshwater testkit. that is where i got mine and it was the API master kit for only 18.00 plus shipping and handleing. Money
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